Staying Safe on the Blockchain: A Guide to Crypto Scams

It is impossible to deny how much the crypto industry has grown in the last decade or so. Back in the early 2010s, few of us had heard of cryptocurrency and many who had were sceptical. Fast forward a few years and Bitcoin was crowned the top-performing asset of the decade, the SEC has approved a spot Bitcoin ETF, and crypto as a whole is more known around the world.

All this success hasn’t been without its pitfalls, however, as crypto scams continue to be an issue that both institutions and individuals have to deal with. To keep yourself safe as a crypto consumer, it is important that you know which ones exist and how they work. In this guide, we break down some of the most common crypto scams.

  • Fake Casinos 

Cryptocurrency is used to gamble a lot these days, even more so during times of market rallies. The downside of this is that criminals have resorted to creating fake crypto casinos to trick users into giving up their funds. A lot of these casinos either take the money and never let users play or play rigged games. 

The best way to avoid this sort of scam is to only use reputable and licensed crypto casinos to get your needs met. In Michael Graw’s guide on playing at a Bitcoin casino, he mentions that you should carefully consider the software providers your chosen casino site is using. He says that many software providers are regulated and thus, need to have their random number generator tested and audited on a regular basis. This ensures that games at Bitcoin casinos are safe and fair.

  • Fake Investments 

All the attention that crypto has gotten means that there are always fake investment schemes going around that promise to give users a massive reward on their principal. These can be anything from tokenised real estate to new exchanges and a common feature of all of them is promising a specific percentage or amount within a certain time. 

Unless you are staking a token, there is no way to 100 per cent guarantee a certain amount of rewards on investment and those who fall for this rarely get their money back. As such, it is important to do your due diligence on any person or company pitching you a crypto investment.

  • Airdrop Scams

In the crypto world, it is not unusual for exchanges, projects, and even people to airdrop tokens and other digital assets to crypto users. This can be as part of a promotional effort, a contest, or even for no reason. This has, sadly, given rise to airdrop scams. These scams as people to connect their crypto wallets or click certain links to claim their prize but instead, the criminals use this to gain access and steal their tokens.

The best way to avoid airdrop scams is to look into the people promoting them. Are they known to do airdrops? Have there been accusations of scams? Also, only participate in airdrops from verified accounts and platforms and never click random links floating about the internet.

  • Phishing

Phishing scams have been around as long as the internet has and with crypto’s rising profile, it has become the latest target. Common phishing schemes that target crypto users include those claiming to be from their exchange or wallet provider telling them that their account has been compromised or that they need to log in. The goal is to get the user to give up their account details so that their funds can be stolen. 

The best way to avoid phishing is to double-check every email address you receive asking you to log into an account, especially if it is for a platform you don’t have an account with. Look out for poor designs, spelling errors, and other small anomalies that might be a giveaway. If in doubt, contact the platform directly.

  • CryptoJacking

Crypto mining can be a very profitable activity but it is also notoriously energy-intensive and expensive to complete. This has seen criminals resort to cryptojacking to mine tokens cheaper. Cryptojacking involves infecting an unsuspecting user’s computer device with malicious software that runs crypto miners using their computing power. 

This can lead to the computer running slowly and even having a shorter lifespan. Cryptojacking is usually done by tricking the user into downloading software that appears to be an anti-virus tool or some other harmless program. To avoid cryptojacking, you mustn’t download any programs outside of verified app stores or websites and avoid clicking shady links online. 

  • Blackmail and Extortion Scams 

This scam involves users being told that the criminal has gotten their hands on scandalous or incriminating material and will release it if they are not paid in crypto. This claim may or may not be true but in either case, the end result is them being extorted for cryptocurrency. 

If you are approached by anyone claiming to have such material or information and you believe it to be true, report it to the authorities. In some cases, the sender can be tracked and prosecuted by the authorities. 

  • Pump-and-Dump Scams

While the crypto industry is brimming with promising tokens that make their investors a lot of profit, there are also pump-and-dump scams. This sort of scam happens when the creators of a shady token buy up large amounts of the token to artificially drive up its market price. After other legitimate investors take interest, they sell the tokens to them at an inflated price and ‘dump’ them with the worthless tokens. 

Pump-and-dump scams can be avoided mostly with research. Look into the use cases of the token and the people promoting it. If there are few legitimate use cases or limited information about its creators, it might be a scam. Also, look into the transaction volume and price history of the token. See if the token experienced a sudden bump in value without any organic industry buzz as this could be a sign of a pump-and-dump.

  • Romance Scams 

Just like phishing, romance scams are as old as the internet but are starting to include cryptocurrency. This scam involves a person being approached by email, instant messages, or on a dating site by someone who claims to be seeking a relationship with them. After a while, the person begins to ask for money, whether for an emergency, travel, or anything else. 

After getting this money, the person stops all communication, leaving their victim to deal with the aftermath. The best way to avoid romance scams is to not send money, including crypto, to people you don’t know, even if you think you are in love with them.


Scams exist in every industry and in the crypto sector, they take on some very interesting forms. From co-opting and adapting classic scams like phishing and romance scams to newer ones like cryptojacking and airdrop scams, crypto users are targeted at every turn. 

But by being aware of these scams and how they work, you are more likely to avoid them and keep yourself and your tokens safe.

Disclaimer: CaptainAltcoin does not endorse investing in any project mentioned in this article. Exercise caution and do thorough research before investing your money. CaptainAltcoin takes no responsibility for its accuracy or quality. This content was not written by CaptainAltcoin’s team. We advise readers to do their own thorough research before interacting with any featured companies. The information provided is not financial or legal advice. Neither CaptainAltcoin nor any third party recommends buying or selling any financial products. Investing in crypto assets is high-risk; consider the potential for loss. Any investment decisions made based on this content are at the sole risk of the reader. CaptainAltcoin is not liable for any damages or losses from using or relying on this content.

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Sarah Wurfel
Sarah Wurfel

Sarah Wurfel works as a social media editor for CaptainAltcoin and specializes in the production of videos and video reports. She studied media and communication informatics. Sarah has been a big fan of the revolutionary potential of crypto currencies for years and accordingly also concentrated on the areas of IT security and cryptography in her studies.